Recently, I’ve been hearing and reading reports about “robot-proof jobs.” Everybody is freaking out that their job may someday disappear thanks to advanced technologies. But there’s one profession in which that difficult transition is happening right now: legal secretaries. Just two or three decades ago, a legal secretary might serve two attorneys. Today, they serve 10 or more!
How is this possible? Obviously, it’s because our legal tools have gotten better. Word processors, scanners, schedulers, document managers… we have technologies and software systems that perform these tasks faster than ever. So, the reasoning goes that we need fewer humans (legal secretaries) to perform these services.
But here’s the thing that astonishes me: we are asking our legal secretaries to achieve more for more people using technologies that literally change every single year… and very few firms provide those secretaries with the ongoing training that they need. With every new system a firm introduces and with every upgrade to existing technologies, legal secretaries should have access to the training they need to advance their skills alongside the advancing technologies they use.
I see you rolling your eyes! I heard you moan about money and time and all that malarkey. You think that training is a “luxury” that only the big firms can afford. Or that your legal secretaries do a fine job learning things as they need them. Both assumptions are wrong.
- Training does not have to be expensive.
- Legal secretaries who aren’t supported by a learning culture won’t (can’t) take the time to learn on their own. And when their skills fall behind, their ability to support lawyers slows down.
Let me ask you: which is more expensive?
- Keeping and training the awesome legal secretaries you have now?
- Firing and hiring new legal secretaries as your need for advanced skills progresses?
Riiiight. Keep the awesome secretaries you’ve got and support their ability to do excellent work by providing them with training!
Now, back to the idea that training doesn’t have to be expensive. Today, there are so many ways to offer training that a firm would have to call itself just plain old lazy if they’re not doing anything at all. You don’t have to offer full-day, three-day, retreat-type (aka “expensive”) training sessions to keep your team up-to-date. In fact, those sessions have proven much less effective than ongoing, readily accessible trainings because people can only retain so much and they only retain what they use on a daily basis.
Instead, with a small investment in a learning management system for law firms and training content for law firms, you could set up a learning resource that your staff can access when they need it! So, while one legal secretary needs help with formatting a Word document and another needs help with Outlook, they can simultaneously access the information they need from their desks, apply that new skill to the work they’re doing in the moment, and move on to their next task.
Do you have legal secretaries that you adore because of their amazing responsiveness? Imagine that same secretary five years from now with no training. His or her future shortcomings are on you if you don’t provide training.
Help your legal secretaries STAY awesome by giving them the ongoing training and learning support they need!
Oh, and while I’m at it, I should mention that these trainings shouldn’t just cover tech tasks. As Microsoft’s Chief Legal Officer, Brad Smith, recently pointed out, “soft skills” are as critical to a legal secretary’s success as tech skills.
From Bloomberg Law: “Soft skills refers to those vague set of qualities that we all know about and seek to master, not only interpersonal communication, but things like the ability to work collaboratively, to adapt to a new set of demands and to solve problems on the fly.”
Savvy Training & Consulting offers all the training resources you need, from the “how-to” tech skills to time management to human resources compliance and beyond.
If you’ve been thinking about supporting your legal secretaries with training, please contact me today. Let’s brainstorm the training solutions that are right for you! Doug@SavvyTraining.com, 303-800-5408